Foods to boost your immune system
Eating a healthy balanced diet is the best long-term help you can give your immune system. However, there are so-called ‘superfoods’ which can give your immune system that extra boost:
Brightly coloured fruit – ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ or so we are told. Fruit is full of important vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system happy and healthy. Kiwi fruit and oranges are high in vitamin C, which helps to protect and maintain healthy cells and tissues. Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, acai and goji are full of vitamins C and E. They can be added to yoghurt for a great immune-boosting snack.
Brightly coloured vegetables – These are another great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Try eating more red peppers,
Green, leafy vegetables – These are a fantastic source of a number of vitamins and minerals, so should definitely be part of any healthy diet. Broccoli, kale and spinach are particuarly good sources of vitamin C.
Other vegetables – Eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables provides a good mix of nutrients. For example, mushrooms encourage the production of infection-fighting cells and improve the action of white blood cells. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, which helps to improve your skin. Your skin is the first line of defence against bacteria so it is worth looking after it.
Oats – these have a high antioxidant effect, are high in vitamin B, and have been shown to boost immunity. Having a hearty bowl of porridge can set you up for the day ahead.
Nuts and seeds – these are rich in important minerals including zinc, which is a vital mineral for the immune system.
Yoghurt – this is full of probiotics, that is, live cultured bacteria, or ‘friendly bacteria.’ This is important for helping your digestive system absorb as many nutrients as possible, giving your immune system energy to fight off bugs.
Garlic and ginger – these spices add a kick to a tasty meal, but are also beneficial for your immune system. They have antioxidant and infection-fighting properties.
Drinks to boost your immune system
Tea – anyone who likes a good cuppa knows that it is the cure for all evil. However, now there is research to back up such thoughts. Tea has antioxidant effects. Green tea, in particular has health protective properties in the form of chemicals called phytochemicals.
Fruit juices and smoothies – these act as one of your portions of five fruit and veg a day. Lemon, cranberry, kiwi and carrot juices are among the best immune system boosting drinks.
Water – keeping hydrated is important for your immune system to be at its prime, and the best way to do this is by ensuring that you drink plenty of water. Water also helps to flush out any toxins from the body, helping the immune system do its job.
Immune system recipes
It is easy to incorporate immune boosting foods into your diet, by adding vegetables into a curry for example, or ending a meal with a healthy fruit salad. We have made it even easier by suggesting some recipes for you to try:
Baked Garlic Ravioli– a pasta shell filled with spinach, garlic, carrot and Parmesan is a low calorie meal to serve four people.
Vegetable Gratin with Goat’s Cheese – this gluten-free gratin is filled with all the good veg to give your immune system a boost.
Carrot and Mango Smoothie – this cooling and refreshing drink only takes a matter of minutes to make, but tastes great.
Broccoli, Kale and Sweet Potato soup with Fitness Mix Sprouts – this delicious soup is packed full of vitamin C, antioxidants and other vital nutrients.